Gold Scammers Using ‘Affinity Fraud’ Technique

Gold scammers are targeting Chinese-Americans, but similar techniques can be used to target and rip off other groups of people.
The scam has most recently been reported in Maryland. According to CBS Baltimore, the Montgomery County Police Department reports at least one victim lost $20,000 to gold scammers targeting people of Chinese descent.
Police term the technique being used as ‘affinity fraud.’ The scam ‘relies on building trust with victims based on shared affiliations and characteristics such as age, race, religion, occupation, etc.’
The specific scam in Maryland starts with a phone call. The phone number appears as a Chinese number on caller ID. The scammer establishes a rapport and then arranges an in-person meeting. Once face-to-face, the scammers show the victim fake gold, claiming they found it while doing construction work. They claim they are undocumented, and want to sell the gold and use the money to either return to China, or to help family in that country. The scammers hook their victims through their convincing story, their shared cultural understanding, and by saying they will take less than money than the gold is worth.

This post was published at Schiffgold on JUNE 28, 2017.